The Milwaukee Bucks and The Lonely Entrepreneur (TLE), a New York-based non-profit that empowers individuals with entrepreneurial skills and support, today announced their selection of the Madison Region Economic Partnership (MadREP) as a partner in their initiative to connect Wisconsin Black entrepreneurs with business-skill-building tools and resources to help them advance their businesses.
The Bucks will provide funding for signups of one year of TLE’s entrepreneurial platform to Black entrepreneurs beginning today. MadREP CEO Jason Fields said a year’s access to the platform would normally cost about $1,200.
“It gives you what I would like to call a safe space to be able to grow, learn, adapt, and get all the things that you need in order to be successful,” Fields said.
Fields said the offer is open to any kind of business.
“They’ve done this elsewhere. I’ve seen from small manufacturing companies to retail shops, clothing stores, so there’s no limit or we don’t segregate any business,” Fields said. “We want all entrepreneurs who have the passion and the willingness to work hard and be successful.”
This offer is part of TLE’s Black Entrepreneur Initiative (BEI), which currently empowers more than 100,000 current and aspiring Black entrepreneurs across the country, according to a press release.
In honor of Martin Luther King Day, Jr., entrepreneurs can sign up today through Wednesday, Jan. 20, at lonelyentrepreneur.com/bucks.
Locally, TLE and its BEI will make its entrepreneurial platform available to three Wisconsin-based organizations: the Milwaukee Chapter of the National Black MBA Association, MKE Black, and the Madison Region Economic Partnership. Black entrepreneurs from each of these organizations will receive TLE’s foundational business-skill-building tools and resources to help them advance their businesses.
“Systemic inequalities have created a staggering wealth gap for Black Americans,” Fields said in a statement. “While many businesses continue to struggle because of COVID-19, a stunning 41 percent of Black-owned businesses were driven out of business.”
“We’re thrilled to partner with The Lonely Entrepreneur to help advance its Black Entrepreneur Initiative nationwide and here in Wisconsin,” Milwaukee Bucks Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility Arvind Gopalratnam said in a statement. “TLE’s entrepreneurial platform is a fantastic resource for aspiring business owners, and we’re hoping to extend it to as many Black entrepreneurs as we can beginning on Monday.”
Fields said the program is open and beneficial to newly minted entrepreneurs as well as those who’ve been in business for a while.
“I’ve been in business, and I’m still learning, man. There is no limit,” he said.
As a partner organization, MadREP will identify Wisconsin African American entrepreneurs to connect with the program. The sign-up deadline does not apply to individuals referred by a partner organization. Interested entrepreneurs who would like to connect with the program should reach out to MadREP at firstname.lastname@example.org.